Art in America: Homer & Remington in Context

Spring Course 2020

This four-session course will explore the underlying artistic, historical, and cultural contexts of the paintings and illustrations on display in Natural Forces: Winslow Homer and Frederic Remington. Learn more about Homer and Remington through a deeper look at their iconic artworks, and discover their unique approaches to picturing American subject matter during a period of great change and conflict.

Session 1: The American Art Scene, 1850-1910

April 30, 3-4 pm

Although born a generation apart, Winslow Homer and Frederic Remington often frequented the same arts institutions and shared many of the same artist friends. The first session of this course will focus on the art world in which they matured and consider the influences, trends, and techniques that informed the trajectory of their careers.

Presented by Jennifer R. Henneman, PhD, associate curator, Petrie Institute of Western American Art and co-curator of Natural Forces: Winslow Homer and Frederic Remington.

Session 2: Frederic Remington: An In-Depth Look

May 7, 3-4 pm

This session will focus on the artistic development of Frederic Remington. Born in Canton, New York, Remington developed into a celebrated illustrator, painter, and sculptor. He created a new visual lexicon of western scenes from his New York studio, which defined the public’s understanding of the West. This in-depth study will examine the elements that made Remington’s artworks stand out from the crowd.

Presented by Thomas Brent Smith, curator of Western American Art, director of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art, and co-curator of Natural Forces: Winslow Homer and Frederic Remington.

Session 3: Market Forces: Winslow Homer and Frederic Remington

May 14, 3-4 pm

The third session of this course will situate the careers of Winslow Homer and Frederic Remington in the context of the fluctuating art market they both navigated, with a particular focus on patrons and collectors who commissioned and purchased their works.

Presented by Margaret Laster, PhD, independent curator and scholar of American art.

Session 4: American Illustration: From Homer and Remington to Rockwell

May 21, 3-4 pm

In this final course session, with the works of Winslow Homer, Frederic Remington, and Norman Rockwell—all illustrators alongside their work as fine art painters—as our focus, discover the evolution and role of illustration in American visual culture from the mid-1800s through the 1940s. What is illustration, and how was this commercial, mass-produced art form in dialogue with oil painting? What technologies enabled the rise and proliferation of illustration? What visual strategies did illustrators use to tell these stories in a direct yet dynamic way? Walk away with a newfound understanding of this often overlooked but (during its heyday) ubiquitous art form, and gain a new appreciation for artists’ roles as master storytellers on the American stage.

Presented by Molly Medakovich, PhD, art historian and Denver Art Museum teaching specialist.

Jennifer R. Henneman

Jennifer R. Henneman

Jennifer R. Henneman, PhD, is associate curator at the Petrie Institute of Western American Art at the Denver Art Museum. Her experience includes posts at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Morris Graves Foundation, the Henry Art Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Most recently she co-curated Backstory: Western American Art in Context, a collaborative exhibition of western American art and artifacts at the History Colorado Center, and published an essay on Annie Oakley in Britain in The Popular Frontier (ed. Frank Christianson, University of Oklahoma Press, 2017). Her interdisciplinary transatlantic research reflects her upbringing on a cattle ranch in Montana and her interest in the dominant cultural and artistic spheres of the late Victorian era.

Photo courtesy of RJ Sánchez, Solstream Studios

Thomas Smith

Thomas Brent Smith

Thomas Brent Smith is director of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art. Since joining the Denver Art Museum in 2008, Smith has led the department to unprecedented growth. During his tenure, the collection has grown to national importance through the procurement of strategic acquisitions and significant gifts, including the Henry Roath and Dr. George C. and Catherine M. Peck collections. As curator, Smith has overseen an ambitious track of exhibitions, publications, and programs. He has served as curator of groundbreaking exhibitions including The American West in Bronze (2013) with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, A Place in the Sun: The Southwest Paintings of Walter Ufer and E. Martin Hennings (2016) and The Western: An Epic in Art and Film (2017) with the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, among many others. He has authored and edited seven publications on a wide range of topics in the field of western American art.

Margaret Laster

Margaret R. Laster

Margaret R. Laster, PhD, is an independent curator and scholar of American art. Previous posts include associate curator of American Art at the New-York Historical Society, and Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies Fellow at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. She has taught art history courses at City College and Baruch College, both of the City University of New York; at Parsons, The New School; and at Christie’s Education. Her research centers on art and material culture of the nineteenth century, including Gilded Age collecting and patronage histories. She is the co-editor of New York: Art and Cultural Capital of the Gilded Age (Routledge, 2019) and has contributed to several volumes published by the Frick's Center for the History of Collecting.

Molly Medakovich, teaching specialist for adult programs at the Denver Art Museum

Molly Medakovich

Molly Medakovich, PhD, is a teaching specialist at the Denver Art Museum, with a focus on adult and college audiences and lifelong learning. You can find her in the galleries leading a monthly Mindful Looking session, lecturing on European and American art in exhibition-related courses, or developing arts experiences for older adults in Denver area senior communities. She has a PhD in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European art history. In addition to her work at the DAM, she teaches art history courses at the University of Denver. Prior to her current role at the museum, Molly was an interpretive specialist for western American, American, and European art and contributed to several exhibitions, including Georgia O’Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land (2013), The American West in Bronze (2014), and A Place in the Sun: The Southwest Paintings of Walter Ufer and E. Martin Hennings (2016), among others.